“America has always been a country of dreamers. The earliest settlers came here looking for happiness and freedom to live a life of their own choosing.” The opening statement of my book of the week: “The Dumb Things Sold” by Al Hesselbart.
Hesselbart is considered one of the greatest authorities on the history of the Recreational Vehicle. He was an instrumental player in developing the RV/MH Heritage Foundation and later the National RV Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana and still sits on the board as a volunteer. This is a “must visit” place for all RV Enthusiasts. Until that time, the book will have to do…and do it does.
The title of the book is taken from one of the folksier early developers who was really surprised by the success of his own ingenuity. Among them, the Schult “Covered Wagon” displays how simplistic the RV roots really are.
Of course, there were any number of examples of “one-off” inventors of rigs just for their own family.
I am especially fond of the Glenn Curtiss invention of the 5th-wheel. Curtiss was also a player in the development of the airplane.
Hesselbart is not a professional writer. Yet the content makes up for the lack of, or rather tedious style. He faithfully covers all of the early manufacturers and their historical significance. Some that I really like are:
The Dodge Travco, which eventually became Foretravel.
Cortez, the first mass-produced front wheel drive motor home.
And of course the story of John Hanson of Forest City, Iowa, who only intended to attract a manufacturing company to town. Little did he know he would add to his already three business in town and build “The Motorhome For Everyman.”
And what would be my favorite? Well, it would be a toss-up between the original Pierce Arrow Fleet Car, or my Dynasty.
But there are so many great RV’s on the market today…I hate to choose.
What little boy didn’t want to fly? I surely did. But down through life I never did manage the discipline of putting enough money away to pay for the lessons and the systematic maintenance flights to stay safe and current. My family paid for a one-time lesson for Father’s Day about 18 years ago. According to my instructor I did well but I never did pursue it. My loss.
Enter a close friend with over 6,000 flight hours, most of it in the back-rough-country of a mission field. He let me play for a few moments on his first class, high-end flight simulator, then gave me a beginning joy stick from Mad Cat–a Cyclops 1. He also explained how Google Earth has a built-in simple flight simulator for free.
I was immediately and hopelessly hooked. This is something one can do from the RV.
My simplistic set-up:
My motivation is to google airports where I’m parked and see the countryside via Google’s actual latest sat photography. What a kick! The beautiful farmland in South-Central Kansas:
Controlled bank to view Mileta’s brother’s farmstead:
The wonderfully historic village of Haviland, Kansas:
Set Up On Final, heading 17, Gail Ballard Municipal, rough grass strip–and if you miss, you end up in a corn field! The joy is–you don’t hurt yourself or any equipment!! Truth? After about 30 touch and go-arounds at this strip, I never miss:
Sorry about the photo quality. My cell phone camera picked up the refresh rate on the computer screen.
If you hear me screaming with joy—I’m flying, and it’s not in a little red wagon.